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November 20, 2012 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-11-20

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8 - Tuesday, November 20, 2012.

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom
FOOTBALL
Hoke readies 'M' for
visit to Columbus

Junior quarterback Devin Gardner has started the past two games under center for Michigan, but he may not start against the Buckeyes on Saturday.
H oke undecide who will start
at artrbackvs. Ohio State

By BEN ESTES They're ineligible to take part in
Daily Sports Editor any postseason action, whether a
bowl game or the Big Ten Cham-
All season long, the Michigan pionship game, due to sanctions
football team says that the only stemming from the NCAA's
game that matters is the one for investigation into transgressions
that week. dating to the tenure of former
They're focusing only on that coach Jim Tressel.
Saturday's game, the Wolverines But at 11-0, Ohio State has
say. Michigan coach Brady Hoke a chance to finish the season
insists that every week is a "cham- undefeated, which is always a
pionship week," and that nobody weighty achievement. There's a
is looking ahead to a future game slim chance that the team could
or behind to a past game. earn a national championship
But the truth is that this week should the voters of the Associ-
has been emphasized all season. ated Press Poll decide to rank the
"We start every meeting with Buckeyes No. 1 over the winner
Beat Ohio," said senior defensive of the BCS Championship Game.
tackle Will Campbell. One might think that the
Michigan will take on hated opportunity to ruin a perfect
rival Ohio State - or simply season would add to the motiva-
"Ohio," as Hoke calls the school tion for Michigan.
- for the 109th time this Satur- But the Wolverines claim
day, and as the Wolverines them- that's not the case at all - Hoke
selves said on Monday, 'it's a big said the importance of The Game
game. renders side motivations like
The Ohio born Hoke has that irrelevant.
emphasized the importance "If you need anything to get
of the rivalry since he became amped up more or whatever
Michigan's coach before last sea- for this football game, then you
son, a marked departure from don't know college football and
the tenure of former coach Rich you don't understand the impor-
Rodriguez, who many fans felt tance of this great rivalry," Hoke
didn't appreciate the history said.
with the Buckeyes as much as he Added Campbell: "I mean if
should have. they were 0-11, it'd still be Michi-
But as Hoke said, the rivalry gan playing Ohio. That's all you
is bigger than him, Ohio State need. You don't need any moti-
coach Urban Meyer, or any play- vational speeches or anything
er taking part in this year's edi- coming into this week to get pre-
tion of the game. The two teams pared to play Ohio."
have a long history of tense, Players have complimented
year-end battles and the game Hoke for his ability to educate
has spawned countless memo- the team on the importance
rable moments. and history of all of Michigan's
The week of practice leading rivalries. But even that appar-
up to The Game shows just how ently isn't necessary for Ohio
much the Wolverines care about State - the awareness comes
beating their counterparts to the from the emphasis placed on this
'south. game throughout the whole sea-
"It's really hard to put into son, and the older players maker
words, I guess," said fifth-year sure that the younger ones know
senior center Elliott Mealer. what's coming, according to
"It's probably everything you'd Hoke.
expect. It's intense. The big- To a man, each of the players
gest thing is your focus, the bar that spoke to the media on Mon-
is kinda raised on that. ... You day spoke of their excitement for
understand when you play in this Saturday and the week leading
game, you really have to be at up to it.
your best. (It really probably didn't hurt
"You got to be your sharpest, that all four of them grew up
so your preparation is that much in either Michigan or Ohio, so
more focused." the rivalry was never foreign to
Like most years, this season's them.)
edition of the game has plenty at Junior quarterback Devin
stake. Gardner, who appears poised to
Michigan still has a shot at remain the starting quarterback
the Big Ten Championship, since against the Buckeyes, said he
it can take the Legends Divi- remembers the. last trip Michi-
sion with a win over Ohio State gan made to Columbus in 2010.
and Nebraska loss to Iowa. The Even though the Wolverines
Wolverines also have their post- were blown out in that game,
season fate to play for - they're Gardner said he was still amazed
certain to make a bowl, but at the impact of the rivalry.
which one they play in could "Obviouslyyou guys know this
change based on Saturday's out- is the greatest rivalry in sports,"
come. Gardner said. "I think a lot of
As for the Buckeyes, there are people feel this way. I just can't
no such postseason implications, wait to play in it."

Toussaint undergoes - I would say it's probably up in
the air."
surgery, released Regardless, Hoke said he is
happy that both Gardner and
from hospital Robinson will be on the field
Monday together in some capacity, as
y both have proven that they are
effective quarterbacks and posi-
By LUKE PASCH tion players. Before Robinson
Daily SportsEditor injured himself at Nebraska,
Gardner had been lining up at
With Michigan coach Brady wide receiver.
Hoke reserving details about "Well, I think it helps our
senior quarterback Denard Rob- football team," Hoke said.
inson's progress in healing from "When we moved Devin, and he
an elbow injury, it's .anybody's wanted to move to wide receiv-
guess who will start at quarter- er, we were helping our football
back this Saturday against Ohio team because
State. you're put-
Robinson took the field last ting your «
Saturday against Iowa in his final best 11 on the I WOt
appearance at Michigan Stadium, field. I think .
lining up most plays in either the Denard fits it spr
backfield or the slot. He did take in that either u n
some snaps at quarterback from as a quarter- Up ii
the shotgun, but didn't attempt a back or as a
pass. slot receiver
Junior quarterback Devin or wherever it
Gardner played at quarterback may be."
for most of the game, and he Hoke did not say whether
looked impressive, throwing for he would still start Gardner at
314 yards and three touchdowns quarterback if Robinson's elbow
in addition to rushing for three is fully healed come Saturday.
more. FITZ UNDERGOES SURGERY:
On Monday, Hoke said he 'Early in the game against Iowa,
doesn't knowyetwho will start at redshirt junior running back
quarterback in Columbus. 'Fitzgerald Toussaint was tack-
"I'd say probably - Denard led out of bounds on the right
continues to get better everyday sideline, and his left ankle got

caught under a rolling defender.
He needed to be carted off the
field, and it was clear that the
injury was serious.
Over the weekend, Toussaint
underwent surgery to repair the
apparent ankle injury, and he
was released from the hospital
on Monday.
"Fitz had surgery, went very
well," Hoke said. "Saw him (on.
Sunday) ... (and he) should have
a full recovery. And we'll move
forward and he'll move forward.
But everything went well, as
well as it can as far as having an
injury. No one wants that for a
kid."
Hoke said
he thinks that
ild say Toussaint will
be ready for
the start of
,, next season,
he air." but for now,
the injury
presents an
opportunity
for sophomore running back
Thomas Rawls to see more time
in the backfield.
Against Iowa, Rawls picked
up just 22 yards on eight carries,
but Hoke said he still likes what
he's seen out of the young back.
"There's so much more to
(the running game) when you're
looking at backside reads on
linebackers, you're looking at

pass protections, all the things
that you have to do as a back,"
Hoke said. "I think that's where
Thomas as grown the most."
Gardner also has full confi-
dence in Rawls being able to fill
in.
"He has to be ready, and I feel
like he is," Gardner said.
MORGAN IS BACK: Soph-
omore outside linebacker
Desomnd Morgan sat out
against Iowa with an undis-
closed injury, but Hoke says he'll
be ready to go for Ohio State.
The week before, against
Northwestern, Morgan took a
hard block toward the end of the
game and was not on the field
during the last series. Fresh-
man linebacker James Ross III
filled in for Morgan against the
Hawkeyes. Ross led the team
with 12 tackles, nine of which
were solo.
"I thought James, I think
from day one, we thought he was
instinctive and a good football
player," Hoke said. "It doesn't
surprise you that he has good
instincts. He sees things well
and he likes to tackle."
Even though Morgan should
be full go for Saturday, Ross's
solid performance against Iowa
provided reassurance that
Michigan's linebacking corps
has good depth should, some-
body go down again.

Beilein: Maryland is a good fit for the Big Ten

By NEAL ROTHSCHILD
Daily Sports Editor
Len Elmore, Len Bias, Joe
Smith, Steve Francis, Steve Blake,
and Juan Dixon.
They aren't among the great-
est to play in the Big Ten, but as of
Monday, they're now among the
greatest to play at one of the con-
ference's member schools.
The University of Maryland
Board of Regents voted to join the
Big Ten, leavingthe ACC, in which
Maryland was a charter member.
The move inflates the Big Ten to 13
schools, and the expected addition
of Rutgers on Tuesday will bring it
to an even 14.
Maryland's first season of Big-
Ten competition will come in the
2014-15 academic year.
"Between the Big Ten Network
and the strength of our confer-
ence right now, (the Big Ten has)
been very good to men's basketball
since I've been here," said Michi-
gan coach John Beilein Monday.
"If they believe Maryland is the
right fit, I'm all for it."
The Terrapins have a rich bas-
ketball tradition, and College
Park, Md. became an NBA breed-
ing ground under legendary coach
LeftyDriesell, and later, Gary Wil-
liams, who brought the program
its first national championship in
2002. He also brought the Terra-
pins to their only other Final Four

of-town games on a regu
and yhe addition of Mary
Rutgers only makes th
more difficult. The dis
College Park and New Br
N.J. is exceeded only by
and Minneapolis.
' "I think that with the w
allowed to travel right
always difficult, but it's st
be 18 games," Beilein said
care if you're going to M
or you're going to Neb
you're going to Minnesot
still going to be travel."
The dis-
tance may be
exhausting
in-season, but
could prove to
be an advantage
in the offseason
for Michigan. fe
"I always
thought it was
hard to get
some of the kids from
ro-Atlantic area to driv
Marylands, the Geor
the Villanovas to come t
gan," Beilein said. "Some
they're really looking fo
that. They want to get aN
home.
"But other kids it's
them with the emphasis c
cial visits. If Maryland w
then, between the drive
him and Ann Arbor, st

lar basis, that's a difficult 'get.'
'land and Michigan basketball has at least
ie travel one connection to the Terrapins -
tance to a familiar face.
unswick, Former Wolverine forward
'Lincoln Evan Smotrycz transferred to
Maryland last spring after his
waywe're sophomore season and is sitting
now, it's this season outper NCAA transfer
ill gonna rules.
. "I don't His last year of eligibility will
Iaryland, . come in the first year that the
raska or Terrapins play in the Big Ten.
a, there's Depending on how the schedule
shapes up, Smotrycz could have
one final return
to Crisler Cen-
ter on the dock-
"Coaches en.
Athletic
neralyylike Director Dave
Brandon didn't
wer games." tell Beilein
about the move
prior to the

Michigan coach John Beileinthinks Maryland is a good fit in the Big Ten men's basketball landscape.

appearance in 2001.
Michigan has split six match-
ups with Maryland and won the
schools' only NCAA Tournament
matchup - a 78-71 triumph in the
regional semifinals in 1994.
With 14 teams, the confer-
ence must determine whether to
increase the number of Big Ten
games during the season, or keep,
the schedule at 18 games, with
each school playing more teams,
but losing a home-and-home two-
game series with a few teams each
year. The alternative under an
expanded schedule would be to

retain the home-and-home for-
mat, but play fewer teams each
season.
"I know the coaches generally
like fewer games, I know the com-
missioners generally like more
games and I think there's probably
a compromise in the middle," said
Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany
in a teleconference on Monday.
The difficulty of scheduling
with more teams may make the
creation of basketball divisions
necessary. The football divisions
appear to be a solution, but the
strengths of schools in basketball

could make the split unequal.
"In the Big East, we did not
have divisions," Beilein said of his
time at West Virginia. "We just
played and they found a way to
do it and it wasn't always a math-
ematical plan that had equity. It
was just what makes sense for TV,
and frankly, that happens a lot."
Opening the East Coast to the
Big Ten adds big markets and sig-
nificant money to the conference,
but it could also compound logisti-
cal issues.
Basketball is the biggest Michi-
gan sport that plays midweek out-

the Met-
e by the
getowns,
o Michi-
of them,
rward to
way from
hard for
on unoffi-
'ants you,
between
ometimes

announcement,
but it was a frequently addressed
topic, and one that the sixth-year
Michigan coach is pleased with.
"We talked expansion often
before," Beilein said. "Maryland
was one name that people had
heardtalked about, notfrom Dave,
from people that talked about dif-
ferent options and especially the
East-Coast market. We've got-
ten more into the Midwest, to go
to the East Coast is a pretty good
idea."

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